Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts

IIS 8 Web Site in Windows 8 externally accessible to the World


Today I needed to allow a per to access an application that’s under development. Instead of buying a cheap ASP.NET hosting account I decided to host the app on my local IIS 8 server. The process to get this configured and working was somewhat exciting since I learned new things along the way.

I’ll show in this post the steps I followed to have this working as expected…

My setup:

  • Windows 8 running inside a virtual machine in Parallels 8 with IP address 192.168.1.107;
  • ASP.NET MVC 4 app deployed in the Default Web Site in IIS 8 that is configured to accept incoming connections in the standard port 80;
  • Linksys WAG200G router/modem connected to the outside/external World.

Steps to follow:
1 - Go to the router’s management interface. In my case it’s located in the address 192.168.1.1.

2 - You’ll need to set a port forwarding configuration. In my case it’s located in Applications & Gaming / Single Port Forwarding. It’ll vary slightly depending on your router vendor and model.

Application: HTTP
External Port: 80
Internal Port: 80
Protocol: TCP
IP Address: 192.168.1.107 (your Windows/IIS machine IP address)
Enabled: True (checked)

Linksys WAG200G Single Port Forwarding configurationFigure 1 - Linksys WAG200G Single Port Forwarding configuration

Make sure to hit the Save Settings button way bellow the page.

3 - Go to Windows 8 Control Panel / System and Security / Windows Firewall / Turn Windows Firewall on or off.
Turn off Windows Firewall for Private Networks.

Turning off Windows 8 Firewall for Private NetworksFigure 2 - Turning off Windows 8 Firewall for Private Networks

4 - Take note of your internet IP address. You can see it in the router’s status page. In my case it’s located in Status / Gateway. Again where you’ll find this info will vary depending on your router vendor.

Taking note of the internet/Gateway IP that uniquely identifies the machine on the internetFigure 3 - Taking note of the internet/Gateway IP that uniquely identifies the machine on the internet

You can also see your current IP Address using Gmail’s Last Account Activity report if you happen to have a Gmail account of course.

5 - Open a browser window and type your internet Gateway IP address taken in step 4. You should be presented with the beautiful IIS 8 default web page if you have no app deployed in the Default Web Site; otherwise you should see your app’s default page/login view.

IIS 8 Default Web Site pageFigure 4 - IIS 8 Default Web Site page

That’s it! Now the web site/app is available externally to any user in any part of the WORLD directly from my development machine.

Anytime I want I can hit Publish from within Visual Studio 2012 and deploy directly to the local IIS 8 server. The user that knows my IP address can then see my ongoing work remotely and free of charge for now.

Note 1
I do not have a static IP address, that is, my ISP here in Brazil (Oi Velox) gives me a dynamic IP address. This means that if there’s a power outage or if the router resets for whatever reason I’ll get a different address – it’s really important to know about this. To overcome such limitation there are some services that can help. One of them is No-IP. It basically allows you to access your computer by a hostname instead of an IP address by using dynamic DNS. They have a free utility app that runs in the background and that automatically syncs your current dynamic IP address with your custom hostname defined in No-IP service.

Excerpts from No-IP site:

What is a hostname?
A hostname is a name given to a computer to make connecting to it easier. Instead of typing out a long IP address you can enter the hostname followed by the domain name, such as myhostname.no-ip.com.

What is dynamic DNS?
Dynamic DNS makes it possible to connect to computers with dynamic IP addresses without needing to know the actual IP address.

They have a free account available with some limitations but it’s worth trying anyway.

Note 2
If for some reason your ISP blocks the default IIS port 80 (something common – hooray! not in my case today) you can try forwarding from a different external port like 8888 in step 2 above. In this case, you’d have to specify this port address when trying to access your IIS server. For example:

189.xxx.xxx.xxx:8888

where 189.xxx.xxx.xxx is your internet IP address.

Installing Brazilian Portuguese dict. in Sublime Text 2


Today I downloaded one more dictionary to use with Sublime Text 2. Sublime Text is a multipurpose text and code editor. So far the best IMHO. I want to spell check my Portuguese texts of course. I followed the instructions described here to grab an additional dictionary.

From that page we have that:

Sublime Text uses Hunspell for its spell checking support. Additional dictionaries can be obtained from the OpenOffice.org Extension List

I then headed to OpenOffice.org to search for a pt-BR dictionary. I found it and then when I downloaded it from http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/en/project/Vero I got a file with a different extension (.oxt) of that used by Sublime Text 2. More on this bellow…

The file name is Vero_pt_BR_V208AOC.oxt.

Using Mac OS I tried to place this file inside this folder

/Users/leniel/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/Packages/User

following the instructions given by Sublime Text 2 doc.

Closed Sublime Text 2 and reopened it. Went to the menu View > Dictionary and the new dictionary wasn’t there.

Well, something is plain wrong here. The already installed dictionaries that come with Sublime Text are present in this folder:

/Users/leniel/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/Packages/Language - English/

Inside the above folder there are two English dictionaries with file extensions: .aff and .dic.

A little bit more thinking and I tried what could do the trick. I renamed the downloaded dictionary file from Vero_pt_BR_V208AOC.oxt to Vero_pt_BR_V208AOC.rar. Opened the compressed file and to my surprise there they were… extracted the files pt_BR.aff and pt_BR.dic. Easy as pie.

It turns out the .oxt file is just a wrapper…

I renamed the folder Language – English to just Languages and placed the files pt_BR.aff and pt_BR.dic in this folder. Closed Sublime Text 2 and reopened it. The new dictionary appeared:

Sublime Text 2 Dictionary menu option listing the pt_BR dictionary just addedFigure 1 - Sublime Text 2 Dictionary menu option listing the pt_BR dictionary just added

Hope it helps.

Listing compressed files within a .zip or .rar by file size


I'd like to know any app that shows a list of the files that lie within a compressed file .zip or .rar. If the list could be ordered by file size it'd be great! It could be any software that runs on Windows or Mac OS since I use both OS using Parallels.

Why this is important to me?
The answer is that sometimes I need to send a compressed file to someone and this file generally contains lots of coding files that are part of a Visual Studio Solution/Project for example. I just want to send a subset of those files. There are some big files like DLLs and database files scattered everywhere in a lot of folders that don’t need to go with the compressed file.

So how can I avoid spending time going through all those folders/files, looking their size and deleting one by one to make the final compressed file to be uploaded smaller?

I thought about asking this question at SuperUser. To tell the truth I already had the question typed there but before I could post it and after a few tries by myself I got what I wanted using WinRAR with an easy play of menu commands. So how can you do this? Follow me…

1 - If you don’t know or don’t have WinRAR or use another file archiver, you can get it at:
http://www.rarlab.com/download.htm

I use WinRAR in its evaluation copy incarnation that once in while pops up a dialog asking you to purchase it. Smiley surpreso It works great even if you don’t want to purchase it… take it easy.

2 - At first compress the folders and files you want without getting bothered about the size of the resulting compressed file. After installing WinRAR it’s available in the context menu of any file or folder in Windows Explorer.

3 - Open the compressed file in WinRAR and play with the menu just a little bit. Go to the Options | File list and select Flat folders view and Details menu options.

WinRAR listing the files of a compressed file (trunk.rar) by file size
Figure 1 - WinRAR listing the files of a compressed file (trunk.rar) by file size

Taking the above screenshot into consideration (it lists the content of a trunk project folder compressed), we can see that it has 1554 folders and 1624 files. This compressed file alone has 87 MB in disk when the actual uncompressed content has 193 MB in size but it’s still pretty big to send it over the wire… I have a lot of folders and files to go through if I want to delete the big and unnecessary files to try to decrease the final size! As you see, it also contains many duplicate files in different paths… it’s pretty daunting just to think about a manual scan. A visual scan in a single screen is much better. How do you get a big picture of this compressed file?

4 - Order all the files by size by clicking the size column header.

5 - Select all the files you want to remove/delete from the compressed file in just one go. One can do this in two different ways: clicking a file and holding the ctrl key and clicking another file to select not contiguous files OR selecting one file and pressing the shift key and clicking another file to select contiguous files. After this it’s just a matter of right clicking the file selection and executing the Delete files command.

Hope this useful tip helps you someday!

Productivity and happiness going from 4 to 8 GB RAM


This post tries to illustrate the productivity improvements you get when you go from 4 GB to 8 GB RAM.

I bought a Mac mini last year and when I started using it to do software development, data started to be processed very very slow… I ordered mini with “just” 4 GB RAM. My assumption that I’d develop only Mac software wasn’t true because now I know that I can’t live without Windows development. This way I have to use a virtual machine/VM (Windows 7) to install Visual Studio, database servers and everything else. That requires a lot of memory as you may know already.

Situation before and after memory upgrade

Mac OS Win VM Comment Feeling
Before 3 GB 1 GB This is crazy. I know. Necessity rules. Steaming mad
After 4 GB 4GB This is what a software developer needs today. Open-mouthed smile

There’s nothing better than images to illustrate my situation before and after the memory upgrade. Pictures can tell thousands words… Seeing is believing!

Before memory upgrade

Mac OS Activity Monitor  ( before memory upgrade ) Screenshot 1 - Mac OS Activity Monitor  ( before memory upgrade )

Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine - Process Explorer ( before memory upgrade ) Screenshot 2 - Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine
Process Explorer ( before memory upgrade )

Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine - System Information ( before memory upgrade ) Screenshot 3 - Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine
System Information ( before memory upgrade )

After memory upgrade

Mac OS Activity Monitor ( after memory upgrade ) Screenshot 4 - Mac OS Activity Monitor ( after memory upgrade )

Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine - Process Explorer ( after memory upgrade ) Screenshot 5 - Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine
Process Explorer ( after memory upgrade )

Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine - System Information ( after memory upgrade ) Screenshot 6 - Parallels Desktop with Windows 7 virtual machine
System Information ( after memory upgrade )

Analysis and Points to take into account
1 - In both Activity Monitors (Screenshot 1 and Screenshot 4) you can see in the pie chart that the sum of memory (3.75 GB and 7.75 GB) is always 250 MB bellow the total installed memory. This is because Mac mini shares its RAM with the video card.

2 - I do not turn off the computer, that is, I put the computer to Sleep (Mac OS term for what we call Hibernate in Windows). When the computer comes back from sleep its memory isn’t completely empty. These screenshots were taken while the computer was in the process of sleeping/waking for a few days and hence the values of Wired, Active, Inactive memory tend to stay high even after waking the computer.

3 - The number of open apps is for sure different but I can guarantee that I have much more apps open after the upgrade, for example: two Visual Studios (desenv.exe) in Screenshot 5 while I had only 1 VS opened in Screenshot 2. To make it even more clear we just have to compare the Totals section of Win 7 System Information. Before I had 53 processes and after 75 (Screenshot 3 and Screenshot 6). An increase of 41.50%.

4 - Despite the values for Page outs and Swap used, after the upgrade I change screens very very fast. So these values do not scary me anymore.

5 - After upgrading Parallels Desktop 6 to its latest release (Build 6.0.12090 / Revision 660720; May 26, 2011) I noted a better memory management regarding the virtual machine. Now Page outs and Swap used are in MBs as shown in Screenshot 7:

Mac OS Activity Monitor after Parallels Desktop upgradeScreenshot 7 - Mac OS Activity Monitor after Parallels Desktop upgrade

Conclusion
Comparing the data shown above, it’s clear that RAM upgrade plays a big role when it comes to developer productivity and happiness.

Now I can say that I have a responsive computer and that means a lot in my day to day work.

Developer: get 8 GB RAM if you can afford it. It’s the bare minimum in 2011. You’ll be happy. No stress… If you can afford and your hardware supports 16 GB RAM, go for it and you’ll have no RAM headaches for a long long period.

Manager or whoever pays the bill: give a descent computer to your developers with at least 8 GB RAM! No excuses… RAM is so cheap nowadays that I don’t understand how can a lot of developers out there work with less than the necessary amount of RAM.

Note 1: Windows processes and memory information come from Process Explorer by Sysinternals. It’s way better and more powerful than Windows default Task Manager.

Note 2: To better understand memory information in Mac OS, refer to this article by Apple: Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor

Software to add Lyrics to MP3 files ID3 metadata


Take a look at the MP3 series. Probably you’ll find something interesting.

If you're like me, you also like to take a look at the lyrics of music that is currently playing in your computer or mobile device as the iPhone. I do it to learn a bit more of English since its not my main language and of course because I also want to sing along correctly. :)

The iPhone for example allows you to read the lyrics of the current song if the lyrics are present in the MP3 ID3 metadata container. This is pretty cool. If you already have lyrics embedded in your MP3 files you can see them while in a bus trip, waiting for a service, etc.

Every MP3 has a specific field (also know as frame) in its metadata to store lyrics information. It’s just a matter of filling this field with the correct lyrics. This is a hard work to do manually because you have to search for the lyrics and then copy/paste it in the right field. This sounds like a great thing to be done by software instead. Again, that’s what computers are for… save us time.

In iTunes (the media player/library software I use) for example, one would right-click a music file and then select the Get Info context menu option. Then you’d select the Lyrics tab and paste the lyrics in the white huge field making sure to click OK as seen in Figure 1 below:

Adding lyrics to an iTunes music file through the Lyrics tab
Figure 1 - Adding lyrics to an iTunes music file through the Lyrics tab

Some time ago I asked a question at SuperUser site: Software to add Lyrics to MP3 files ID3 metadata. It seems that there are a lot of people (3,356 to be precise as the time of this post) out there looking to accomplish what this post tries to clarify.

When I asked the question I was using Windows and I got good answers.

I also discovered other software by myself as MiniLyrics for Windows at that time. If you’re interested in MiniLyrics, here goes a small tutorial to save the lyrics to MP3 metadata!

MiniLyrics
Right click MiniLyrics icon in the system tray, choose Preferences and then select the Lyrics icon. Under the Save downloaded lyrics in: - select Save lyrics in mp3 file.

Other great feature MiniLyrics has is that while the music is playing the lyrics can be shown on your screen according to what is being sung, that is, the lyrics flows in your screen according to the music timing. Fantastic job from crintsoft people... :)

Besides saving the lyrics to MP3 metadata, there are lots of features and possibilities when it comes to lyrics in MiniLyrics software.

From the official site:

    MiniLyrics Display lyrics for your favorite music!

        * Lyrics plugin software for iTunes, Windows Media Player, MediaMonkey, Winamp, etc. You do not need to change the way you enjoy music.
        * Display scrolling lyrics, you can follow along with the artist and catch every word.
        * Automatically search and download lyrics.
        * Huge lyrics database, and it is expanding everyday.
        * Free Trial version that never expires.

Lyricator
Lyricator as suggested by merv is a fantastic/great/cool piece of software to go with MediaMonkey but it is having some problems currently as you can find in this thread.

I had to resort to other service while Lyricator is being repaired. I found other free software that does the job, but only on a Mac computer (that’s OK because I’ve switched to the Mac world). It's name is Get Lyrical.

Get Lyrical

Get Lyrical doing its job in the background
Figure 2 - Get Lyrical doing its job in the background

    Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes!

You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.

    You can also browse and edit the lyrics of your iTunes tracks right from Get Lyrical.

I highlighted in yellow above a powerful feature of Get Lyrical. You can even add lyrics to a selection of tracks at once. This is a batch processing feature really welcome when you want to add lyrics to an artist’s complete discography for example.

I’ve been using Get Lyrical for some time now and it is really competent in the job. I highly recommend it.

Testing Windows 7 beta and RC versions


Windows is the piece of software that underlies everything on my computer so that I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about it since we’re on the verge of its new version, namely, Windows 7.

I’ve been testing Windows 7 for the last two months. It’s been my operating system since then.

Firstly I got the 32-bit Beta release on March, 15th and today I’m downloading the 64-bit RC (release candidate) version. I plan to install it this weekend and as soon as I have it installed and configured I’ll update this post.

What I have to write about this operating system? Numbered from 1 to 7 in an unordered relevance fashion…

1 - It is fast.
2 - I risk to say it is faster than Windows XP.
3 - It is beautiful! Take a look at the new taskbar.
4 - It simplifies a lot of tasks.
5 - It has more native programs.
6 - Previous Windows’s native programs got a refresh and were optimized.
7 - It adds more security points to your day to day tasks.

My Windows 7 Beta taskbar:

Windows 7 Beta Taskbar

I moved directly from Windows XP to Windows 7. I didn’t use Windows Vista because it was too bloated for my computer in the beginning of 2006 when I also tested it in the beta period. At that time I had an AMD Athlon XP 2400+ with 512 MB RAM memory and an onboard video card which didn’t allow me to get the so famous Aero interface. I didn’t have a plan to upgrade my hardware. That was the big impediment. I think that Windows Vista arrived in a time in which the majority of computers didn’t have a proper hardware configuration yet.

Now the landscape is different. Windows 7 appears in a time that it’s much cheaper to buy a 2-core computer with GBs of RAM memory; Computer prices went down during the past years even here in Brazil where hardware prices double if compared with US $. Today $ 1 = R$ 2.07. This price is still attractive. Believe it or not! :)

The following picture shows my current computer configuration:

 Windows 7 System configuration

This is the Windows Experience Index score I got - a low score given the fact that I still use an onboard video card and that the score is determined by the lowest subscore:

 Windows 7 Windows Experience Index

Even with a 3.2 score I have the windows Aero enabled. Take a look at the Windows Experience Index: An In-Depth Look post that describes the score levels and what system’s features are enabled or disabled based on them.

From the Engineering the Windows 7 “Windows Experience Index” post we have the following:

The Vista-era general guidelines for systems in the 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 ranges still apply to Windows 7. But, Windows 7 has added levels 6.0 and 7.0; meaning 7.9 is the maximum score possible.

While using Windows 7 beta I installed all the software I work with as the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional, Oracle Database, PL/SQL Developer, TortoiseSVN, etc - a typical developer box.

Windows 7 didn’t crash and was a well behaved operating system during this beta period in which I did everything I used to do in Windows XP.

The only hardware problem I had was with a Creative Audigy sound card (model number SB0090). There was no driver available for Windows 7. So I had to install a driver that wasn’t full compatible. The sound didn’t sound as good as it should be. I experienced a lot of noise.
Creative Labs has a Windows 7 - Driver Availability Chart in case you’re interested.

All in all you’ll get a great experience with such a robust operating system. After all Windows is ubiquitous and the more you can do with it the better you get at work.

Updated on 6/6/2009 05:48:00 PM

I’ve installed Windows 7 64-bit version but I didn’t use it because for the sake of my work I thought Win 7 wouldn’t play as expected.

Firstly we should consider that Windows 7 64-bit has a default Program Files (x86) folder where it puts all applications that are made to run on a 32-bit operating system. This particularly broke my way because the software that I develop rely on an Oracle database connection. There is a known bug with Oracle that prevents an application hosted in a folder that has parenthesis in its name to access an Oracle database.

I didn’t notice any performance gains while running the 64-bit OS.

Today I finally installed the Windows 7 RC 32-bit. I upgraded from the 32-bit Beta version to the RC version. The upgrade is only possible from 32-bit to 32-bit versions and not from a 64-bit Beta to 32-bit RC and vice versa.

The upgrade took 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete and ran flawlessly. You may ask why this took so long? This is because in a upgrade it is necessary to copy a lot of files from the old OS to the new one.

I downloaded the ISO file and extracted its content to a temp folder. I changed the file cversion.ini as described in the post Delivering a quality upgrade experience from the Engineering Windows 7 blog so that I could go through the upgrade. I then clicked setup.exe while running the Windows 7 beta version and the installation started.

I got the following report:

Upgrading Windows will affect the following devices and/or programs:

          These programs might not work properly after the upgrade. We recommend uninstalling these programs before upgrading. Cancel the upgrade, open Control Panel, and search for "uninstall a program". (Note: Programs marked as * can be safely reinstalled after the upgrade.)
          • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
          • Microsoft SQL Server 2005

        I then decided to ignore the report and proceeded with the installation.

        Windows 7 - Upgrading from 32-bit Beta to RC

        The above image shows the early stages of the upgrade. In fact there were more than 400000 files to be gathered. I already had an extensive list of apps installed on the beta OS as for example Microsoft Office 2007 that in itself is a big suite of apps.

        Windows 7 then restarted sometimes and installed the new OS bits that were refined from Beta to RC. The last step was to transfer files, settings and programs to the new OS. It transferred a total of 524490 files.

        My Windows 7 RC taskbar:

        Windows 7 RC Taskbar

        From this what I have to say now that I’m using the RC to write this blog post using Windows Live Writer is that the upgrade was successful. I didn’t need to reinstall anything (including Windows Live Writer). Everything is the way they were before installing the RC version.

        I had a pleasant experience while upgrading from Beta to RC.

        Congratulations to the Microsoft Windows 7 Team for providing this must have feature, that is, making upgrades possible! :-)

        A last note: I described above the problem I had while configuring my Creative Audigy sound card in Windows 7 Beta. With the RC version the Creative Audigy soundcard is functioning as expected. One of the first things Windows 7 did was to install the sound card driver!

        Updated on 2/22/2010

        On February, 17 I made the change to Windows 7 RTM version. After almost a year of constant use the RC version proved to be really stable.

        Now let’s use Windows 7 till Windows 8 comes.

        References
        Engineering Windows 7 blog
        http://blogs.msdn.com/e7

        Windows 7 Team blog
        http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7

        Microsoft official Windows 7 site
        http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/default.aspx

        Windows 7 @ Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
        http://www.winsupersite.com/win7

        Windows 7 article at Wikipedia
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7

        List of features new to Windows 7
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_7